Saturday, 16 May 2009

Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days - Review

Two Alastair Reynolds stories set in his Revelation Space universe.  Both brilliant and disturbing.  The first sees a small group of explorers journey to an ancient alien structure called Blood Spire.  Room after room of intricate mathematical puzzles, which once completed correctly, allow access to the next.  Failure to get a puzzle right however reaps a terrible toll.  Amputation and death follow.  Gory?  Yes.

What Reynolds does is deliver complicated mathematical prose in the confines of  a traditional story of simply, 'must get to the end of the puzzle to see what we get at the end,' adventuring.

He wrote one of my favourite books of all time with 'Pushing Ice' and this short story delivers in similar ways.  Well crafted characters that you love and hate in equal measure.

The second story is far more complex but equally brilliant.  Naqui lives on the planet Turquoise and studies the 'creatures' that live in the sea.  The sea creatures are called the Pattern Jugglers and they are effectively the remains of a lost alien civilisation.  They are in a way, data.  Yep, it's pretty heavy stuff.  The Pattern Jugglers are able to absorb human memories by 'killing' those that swim with them.  

The story is part thriller as Naqui battles to save the Pattern Jugglers on Turquoise that have absorbed her sisters memories.  Tense, complicated, and totally unputdownable.  I raced through both stories.

But if you don't like heavy Sci-Fi this isn't for you.

4/5